House votes to override Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act

On Monday, the US House of Representatives voted to override President Donald Trump's veto of the $741 billion National Defense Authorization Act.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

On Monday, the US House of Representatives voted to override President Donald Trump's veto of the $741 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The House voted 322-87, easily surpassing the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. 109 Republicans supported the bill, while 66 Republicans voted against it. 20 Democrats also opposed the bill.

The bill had initially passed both the House and Senate with bi-partisan, veto-proof majorities, but Trump sent the defense authorization bill back to Congress last week with a list of changes.

Among the President's objections were that the bill ordered the Pentagon to change the names of military installations commemorating Confederate generals. Trump also said the bill restricts his ability to conduct foreign policy, "...particularly my efforts to bring our troops home," referring to his intent to pull US troops out of Germany, South Korea and Afghanistan.

The bill also includes provisions to limit how much money the President can allocate for the border wall.

Additionally, the bill did not include a repeal of Section 230, a provision that shields internet companies from liability for content posted to their websites by site users. Trump had requested a repeal of Section 230 even though it was unrelated to the defense bill.

Trump and other Republican politicians believe social media sites like Twitter are unfairly biased against conservatives. Twitter has added fact check warnings to many of the president’s tweets as well as others who share allegations of voter fraud.

Section 230 gained national attention in October, when the New York Post shared incriminating emails and pictures in an article that were allegedly found on a copy of the hard drive of Hunter Biden’s laptop. After the Post’s story was published, Facebook and Twitter both restricted the article's reach on their platforms. Twitter censored the content, blocked users from sharing and reading the story and blocked the Post's ability to tweet.

The Post’s story cited the emails to demonstrate that Hunter Biden introduced his father, former Vice President and current President-elect Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy company, before pressuring Ukrainian lawmakers to fire a prosecutor for investigating the company for corruption a year later. The articles were censored by the social media giants weeks before the Presidential election.

While Trump and conservatives are the law’s most vocal critics, it has some liberal detractors as well. According to Forbes, Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat who created the provision, "…has had some harsh words for tech companies. He envisioned Section 230 as not only a shield but also a sword, empowering them to actively curtail bad content on their sites. He has been disappointed with tech’s lack of interest in moderating itself, warning that if 'you don’t use the sword, there are going to be people coming for your shield.'"

"230 has nothing to do with the military," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK). "I agree with his sentiments ... but you can't do it in this bill. That’s not a part of the bill."

Senators are due to return to Washington on Tuesday to take up the NDAA legislation as well as the revised COVID-19 relief package.


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